These days, it’s hard to get by without a college education. More Americans have college degrees now than at any time in our nation’s history, and more and more jobs are requiring applicants to hold college degrees — even if the same job once welcomed high school graduates. Some observers consider the college degree to be “the new high school diploma” — the essential marker of an employable person, a sort of new minimum.
It’s fair to question if all of this is necessary. The need for a college degree can be particularly frustrating to those of us who lack the resources that make it so easy for some young people to dedicate four years of their lives to studying (and partying) at brick-and-mortar universities. Fortunately, the rise of online universities like Excelsior College has given many busy students that ability to study on their own terms.
Students at online universities can study on their own schedules, which allows them to hold down jobs and keep living expenses low. Online universities can also be more affordable than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
But how do their educational standards hold up to the old-school schools? Can an online university education really compare to a traditional one? As it turns out, online universities have a lot to offer in this department.
The false distinction between online and brick-and-mortar universities
Four-year universities, including Ivy League colleges, were among the pioneers of online coursework and entire online courses. Plus, plenty of four-year brick-and-mortar universities offer low-residency and even entirely online degrees. Meanwhile, lots of online courses have virtual and real-life meetups and even graduation ceremonies.
The reality of the situation is that the lines between online universities and brick-and-mortar ones are blurring. And as those lines blur, the stigma of online coursework is evaporating.
While most people can agree that online universities offer a great education, not everyone has always felt that way — hiring managers included. That, however, is a thing of the past. Hiring managers say that attitudes toward online diplomas have changed significantly over the past decade. Modern businesses recognize that those who were educated online have the same qualifications as those who went to brick-and-mortar universities.
Of course, it’s still important to choose a reputable university, remind the experts at Excelsior College. You should be sure that the university is known for its excellence in your chosen major. Not all schools are equally good at everything, so make sure you’re picking the one with the right specialty — Excelsior College for nursing, for instance.
Working and learning outside of class
When students at brick-and-mortar universities aren’t in class, some tend to study and do internships, but plenty also spend their time partying. You’re free to do what you wish with your free time as an online student, but many online learners find that their scheduling freedom allows them to do very valuable things.
That could mean an educational trip, suggest the experts at the visitor’s bureau over in Henry County, Georgia — where, they say, “history has a name.” Or it could mean working at a job, which will allow you to build your career even as you earn and save money for your education. Emerging from your school years with a degree and a robust resume is just another advantage that comes with going to school online.